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What we have this morning is no longer the Venezuela story you thought you understood.

Throughout last night, panicked people told their stories of state-sponsored paramilitaries on motorcycles roaming middle class neighborhoods, shooting at people and storming into apartment buildings, shooting at anyone who seemed like he might be protesting. People continue to be arrested merely for protesting, and a long established local Human Rights NGO makes an urgent plea for an investigation into widespread reports of torture of detainees. There are now dozens of serious human right abuses: National Guardsmen shooting tear gas canisters directly into residential buildings. We have videos of soldiers shooting civilians on the street. And that’s just what came out in real time, over Twitter and YouTube, before any real investigation is carried out. Online media is next, a city of 645,000 inhabitants has been taken off the internet amid mounting repression, and this blog itself has been the object of a Facebook “block” campaign.

What we saw were not “street clashes”, what we saw is a state-hatched offensive to suppress and terrorize its opponents.

After the major crackdown on the streets of major (and minor) Venezuelan cities last night, I expected some kind of response in the major international news outlets this morning. I understand that with an even bigger and more photogenic freakout ongoing in an even more strategically important country, we weren’t going to be front-page-above-the-fold, but I’m staggered this morning to wake up, scan the press and find…


The Game Changed in Venezuela Last Night – and the International Media Is Asleep At the Switch

h/t georgehtakei

(via kileyrae)


A Moment in Music History! Today back in 1967, the first issue of the rock periodical Rolling Stone hit the shelves in San Francisco, CA, with a cover featuring John Lennon, in a still from his upcoming movie How I Won The War, and a free roach clip with every issue.

In the very first edition of the magazine, founder and current chief editor Jann Wenner wrote that Rolling Stone "is not just about the music, but about the things and attitudes that music embraces.

For amazing curated playlists and more, be sure to Follow Rolling Stone on Spotify!


This week marks the 75th Anniversary of the legendary Orson Welles radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds”, which famously led to widespread outrage and panic in listeners who believed that the events being described in the program by the 23 year old Welles were actually happening.

(Listen to the entire 58 minute original Welles CBS broadcast from 1938)

A brand new PBS Documentary exploring this event, American Experience: War of the Worlds, airs tonight at 9pm.

My dad heard this broadcast and told me that there was no way anyone could have mistaken it for anything but a radio drama.  He was in his 20’s at the time. But I used to work with a woman who was just a young child in 1938 and lived with her Slovenian parents in a small coal mining town in Southern Illinois.  Her father believed that the events on the radio were actually happening.  So he took my friend and her sister in hand and walked them down to the local tavern where he proceeded to get very drunk.  He figured that if the world was coming to an end he didn’t want to face it sober.


A reflection of poor, conservative-Republican stewardship in the South, mostly old Dixie-States have left 50 million, 48%, of public school children impoverished, the Washington Post reports. In places like Mississippi, a state which year after year vies for the lowest national poverty ranking, as many as 71% of students qualify for free lunch programs, a benchmark indicating various levels of poverty. The trend has spread westward, too, into Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and California.   

A majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country.

The analysis by the Southern Education Foundation, the nation’s oldest education philanthropy, is based on the number of students from preschool through 12th grade who were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meals program in the 2010-11 school year. 

The meals program run by the Department of Agriculture is a rough proxy for poverty, because a family of four could earn no more than $40,793 a year to qualify in 2011.

Children from those low-income families dominated classrooms in 13 states in the South and the four Western states with the largest populations in 2011, researchers found. A decade earlier, just four states reported poor children as a majority of the student population in their public schools.

But by 2011, almost half of the nation’s 50 million public-school students — 48 percent — qualified for free or reduced-price meals. In some states, such as Mississippi, that proportion rose as high as 71 percent.

In a large swath of the country, classrooms are filling with children who begin kindergarten already behind their more privileged peers, who lack the support at home to succeed and who are more than likely to drop out of school or never attend college.

“This is incredible,” said Michael A. Rebell, the executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Columbia University, who was struck by the rapid spike in poverty. He said the change helps explain why the United States is lagging in comparison with other countries in international tests.

“When you break down the various test scores, you find the high-income kids, high-achievers are holding their own and more,” Rebell said. “It’s when you start getting down to schools with a majority of low-income kids that you get astoundingly low scores. Our real problem regarding educational outcomes is not the U.S. overall, it’s the growing low-income population.”

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